A Semester of Growth and Independence March 15, 2016

By (Communication and Media Studies, Hood College) - abroad from 09/02/2015 to 12/12/2015 with

CAPA The Global Education Network: London Study or Intern Abroad

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Studying abroad was the best time of my life, and was so worthwhile the worry and financial stress. It was my first time out of the country to live in the UK for 4 months, and it was the longest I had ever been away from home. Most days I was on my own during my commute and travels around the city, and I learned that being on your own is okay and you can learn a lot more. I also loved going places with my new friends of course, but it's an entirely different experience to go solo and see what you want on your own time.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

My CAPA courses were not as challenging as I am used to at my home school. There was less work and studying involved, but there was so much more involvement as we took numerous trips around London and were able to directly relate them to class in multiple courses. My educational experience was much more well-rounded than like at my home school where I'm usually sitting in the classroom every day.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The people at CAPA were truly part of the best experience of my trip. Everyone there was so friendly and helpful and really seemed to want me to have a great time. It did not take me long to feel comfortable with the staff and that I could talk to them about anything.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The living experience was one of the more difficult parts of my trip, but I did not care as much because I didn't go all the way to London to sit around in my flat. However, it was tight with 5 girls in 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom. I got to be good friends with some of my flatmates which helped out a lot. Basically, London is a crowded space, but I know of some other CAPA students that had more room than us.

* Food:

I mean, this has nothing to do with CAPA since we lived on our own, but London has some amazing food. The stereotype about British food being bad is so wrong. I loved the "traditional" British food I had like meat pies, and I also loved visiting different markets and seeing what the stalls had to offer. London street food is the best.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

This is some of my fault, but I still didn't feel like a part of London when I left. I felt like a part of the city, but not the people. Being there for a semester allowed me to feel what it is like to actually live there and to be like a local, but I still didn't learn everything I wanted to about living there. I probably would have felt more in-tune if I had lived with a host family or participated in an internship though, of which I did neither.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I never had a health problem, but CAPA explained to us the first week what to do if I did need to go to a doctor or learn the healthcare system.

* Safety:

I honestly never felt unsafe while in London. Sure, it's a large city and you can't be stupid walking around, but I don't remember ever feeling like I was in an uncomfortable situation. Try to stick with a buddy if you're out after dark though, just like you would in any place.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes

CAPA was the best fit for me. Since my home school is affiliated with them, my scholarships paid for me to study abroad. True, I didn't make any local student friends since our classes and flats were with other CAPA students, but I made friends from around the United States that I would otherwise have never met. I liked all the people who work at CAPA and I miss them as much as I miss the program.

Finances

* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

I'm used to being thrifty even at home, so I was okay with living off of pasta and rice so I would have more money for travel and other experiences. I should have saved more though, because even cheap food adds up.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? probably around $40 when I didn't travel somewhere that weekend
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Keep records of what you're spending. £3 meal deals add up

Language

* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • being part of student council
  • the faculty and staff of CAPA
  • cultural programs/trips
* What could be improved?
  • scheduling of MyEducation events
  • more designated quiet areas to work within the CAPA building
  • encourage more students' participation in CAPA sponsored events
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew to have more money with me. Yes, I knew London would be expensive before I got there, but it was my first time being 100% responsible for everything and I wasn't used to buying groceries every week.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!